KUAL A LUMPUR: The Department of Environment (DoE) has activated the National Open Burning Action Plan and the National Haze Action Plan to coordinate measures by government agencies in addressing open burning and the haze in the country. Its director-general Norlin Jaafar, said this was done as the air quality reached a hazardous level in Miri and a very unhealthy level in Kuala Baram, both places in Sarawak, over the past two days.
“We have also issued directives under Section 31 and Section 37 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to all landowners in the peat soil areas of Kuala Baram to prevent and control fires there. “Also, we have been conducting daily patrols in areas at risk of open burning as well as providing the Air Pollution Index (API) readings to the Sarawak state disaster management committee for further action,” she said when contacted by the Bernama News Channel (BNC) here yesterday. Norlin explained that several measures have been taken to address the haze in Sarawak, including stepping up enforcement against open burning and other activities that can aggravate the situation.
In addition, the department is working with other agencies to implement the standard operating procedure (SOP) on preventing and controlling fires on peat soil and disseminating information, she said.
Norlin said she hoped that all stakeholders and landowners can closely monitor fire-prone areas such as landfills, forests, peat soil areas as well as agricultural and industrial land.